DYING TO RULE
"He then asked, 'And you -- what are you saying about me? Who am I?' Peter answered, 'The Messiah of God.' Jesus then warned them to keep it quiet. They were to tell no one what Peter had said.
"He went on, 'It is necessary that the Son of Man proceed to an ordeal of suffering, be tried and found guilty by the religious leaders, high priests and religion scholars, be killed and on the third day be raised up alive.'" Luke 9:20-22 (The Message).
Peter was rosy with enthusiasm and inspiration when he declared, 'You are God's Messiah,' but he had no clue what it meant.
It was imperative that Jesus correct their misconception of what the Messiah was all about, but it was as though He were talking to a stone wall. In this situation the disciples had selective hearing because they did not want to believe that Jesus was anything else than a deliverer from their hated enemy and oppressor, Rome. They saw and read everything through the spectacles of their misunderstanding.
He didn't even need to tell them not to broadcast what He had revealed to them because it was as though He had never said it. It was an invisible barrier between Him and them. I believe that He longed for them to understand what He was telling them so that He would have emotional support, especially when the time drew near for Him to go to Jerusalem for the ordeal.
Jesus often used the term, Son of Man, to refer to Himself in preference to "Son of God", which had a double-barrelled meaning. It was much more than a reference to His humanity.
In Daniel 7:13, 14, Daniel saw in his vision a human-like figure approaching the throne of God. "In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into His presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshipped Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will never be destroyed."
"Son of Man" seems to have a three-fold meaning: He was human; He was representative man, and He was anointed of God to have the authority and power to rule. But, at the same time, He was recognised as more than just a man because He received the worship of all nations and His kingdom was supreme and eternal.
Would the disciples have recognised in His use of "Son of Man" to refer to Himself, that He was clearly stating who He was? Possibly, but they only saw half of the implications of that title. Daniel spoke of His authority, power and glory, but Isaiah spoke of His suffering.
We get the clearest prophetic picture of the character and the suffering of the Messiah in Isaiah's "servant songs". With hindsight it is easy for us to see in Jesus the fulfilment of these prophecies but those who lived before the cross could not make sense of them as long as they missed the atoning work of the Messiah as essential to His mission.
As we wait for the return of our Messiah to take His place as king over all the kingdoms of the earth, it is easy for us the miss the clues to His coming if our focus is on the geographical and political. We scan the horizon for some evil political figure who will brazenly declare that he is God, but miss the fact that the spirit of antichrist operates in every religious figure within the church who lures people to follow him instead of Jesus.
These charismatic figures have huge followings, and people flock from all over the world to hear them and yet, as the Father urged the disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration, 'This is my beloved Son; listen to Him,' Jesus is as near to us as our breath. Not even Moses or Elijah can take His place.
Once again I urge you, "Follow Jesus. You will never get lost."
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